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Questions and Answers

Who is eligible to receive service from the community living department ?

SHEKEL's community living department provides services to adults, aged 21 and over ,with a range of special needs as follows:

  • People with learning disabilities
  • People with mental retardation
  • People with PDD
  • People with Asperger Syndrome
  • People with physical disabilities as a result of cerebral palsy or other conditions
  • People with visual or hearing impairments
  • People with complex conditions requiring nursing care
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How does one apply for placement in SHEKEL’s community living department ?

Referral to SHEKEL’s community living department takes place via the local social welfare offices. In order to receive such services from SHEKEL,

a referral must be made via his\her social worker and go through a formal process including the following stages:

  • Assessment committee – the candidate is referred for a series of tests and assessments in order to refer him\her to the appropriate division in the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, either the Rehabilitation Division, the Mental Retardation Division or the Autism Division.
  • Decision committee – this committee convenes in the local social welfare office with the participation of the candidate, his\her family members, the candidate’s social worker, a representative of the vocational center or school and other relevant participants. The committee members determine the residential placement services the candidate needs – institutional or community placement (hostel or independent living). In addition, a vocational placement is determined – sheltered workshop, supported employment in the open market or completely independent work.
  • Placement committee – The relevant material from the committees is referred to the district supervisor of the ministry who decides to which placement framework to refer the candidate. Decisions are made based on the availability of an appropriate placement opportunity.
  • When material is received from the placement committee, SHEKEL’s community living department arranges a meeting with the candidate and his\her family to jointly determine if the placement available is appropriate.
  • It should be noted that the above process may take months or even years. Therefore it is advisable to begin the process early so that the relevant documents approving placement are available.
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How long does the placement process take?

From the time of formal referral from the district supervisor to the community living department, the process may take several months. The major factor at this stage is availability or ministry approval to open a new apartment. If room is available, admission can take place in a matter of weeks.
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Are there apartments for religious residents in SHEKEL’s community living department?

SHEKEL’s community living department includes various types of apartments, such as: apartments for religious residents, apartments for non-religious residents, apartments for younger or older residents, apartments for Arabs, apartments for Jews, apartments for independent residents and apartments for individuals who are in need of constant assistance.

The aim of the community living department is to assure that each apartment provides the appropriate environment for each resident in accordance with his habits, lifestyle and cultural background.

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What is the daily schedule in the apartments ?

Morning – After waking up, the residents prepare to go to their work places – (washing, dressing, breakfast, preparing a sandwich etc.) and then travel to work. Most residents travel by public transportation with or without an escort, depending on their level of independence.

Afternoon – Return to apartment where staff members await them. The residents may take a short rest and do the necessary housework according to their schedule such as: cleaning, shopping, cooking, dishwashing, preparing meals, etc. Each resident chooses his own recreational program. Among the choices are: arts and crafts clubs, TV studio, sports, group activities, etc. These activities are not required but the staff encourages the residents to participate in at least one program a week.

Evening – The staff helps the residents prepare for bed and is available through the night and early morning hours “as needed.”

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What is the composition of the staff in the SHEKEL apartments ?

1. Counselors – Each apartment has a staff of counselors, mostly BA students learning relevant subjects. They are responsible for the ongoing activity in the apartment throughout each shift. Each counselor is responsible for a specific resident in order to form a personal relationship. In many apartments the staff includes national service young adults who volunteer in the apartment for one year.

2. Apartment coordinator – staff member, usually with a BA in education, social work or treatment. The coordinator is responsible for the preparation of an intervention program for each resident, monitoring its implementation and following up. The coordinator recruits the staff and is responsible for their ongoing work. The coordinator is also responsible for maintaining contact with the residents’ parents.

3. Apartment Supervisor – This is a professional with several years experience in a relevant discipline who is responsible for a cluster of about 5 apartments . The supervisor oversees the work of the coordinators, follows up on program activities and controls the quality of the work the apartments. The supervisor is the liasion between the management team of the community living division and the coordinators,

4. Multi-disciplinary team – staff level team including a behavioral psychologist, a special education expert, an occupational therapist, dietitian, psychiatrist and others.

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What care does a person who needs nursing care receive in SHEKEL?

According to the nursing care law, such a person has a complex disability with severe mental retardation and needs total assistance in all of his daily living activities. As a resident in a SHEKEL apartment, this individual lives in a rented apartment which has been totally renovated for the individual needs of up to 8 residents . They are cared for by a highly trained professional staff which is in regular contact with the staff of the residents’ day program (educational, pre-vocational, etc.) and cooperates fully with the residents’ family members. The residents participate in a variety of activities outside of the apartment including hydrotherapy and cultural activities to the extent possible.
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